Thursday, November 18, 2010

And so it begins...

When I first cooked up the underlying premise for The Last Bartender, I was worried that most folks might find it a bridge too far (literary agents certainly did...). The idea that the federal government would attempt to undertake a second alcohol prohibition after the historic crash & burn of the 1920-1933 "Noble Experiment" seemed just plain silly.

Of course, when I first released The Third Revolution back in 2003, the idea that a state might exert its independence by nullifying unpopular and oppressive federal legislation seemed likewise absurd. Today, a majority of state legislatures are at least considering legislation allowing their citizens to opt out of certain unpopular and oppressive parts of the recent federal takeover of our healthcare system.

So here we are:
Alcohol panel ready to act on caffeinated malt beverages: "Federal regulators deem the drinks unsafe. North Carolina could ban them today."
FDA might prohibit caffeinated booze: "Nearly two weeks after Michigan banned Four Loko and other alcoholic energy drinks, the federal government is looking to do the same."
Buzz over Four Loko drinks sparks sales: "Fans rushed to snatch the last caffeinated cans of Four Loko off store shelves as the federal government warned four companies that their caffeinated malt-alcohol drinks are "unsafe" and violate federal law."
FDA to block sales of alcoholic drinks with caffeine: "Alcohol has been legal to buy, sell, and consume in the US since the repeal of the 18th Amendment in 1933.  Caffeine has never been illegal in the US, and millions of people consume it in soft drinks, coffee, and tea every day.  But what happens when you put alcohol and caffeine together?  The manufacturers incur the wrath of the nanny state..."                                    
Obama brings back Prohibition: "What is illegal about booze? To be sure, a few states have outlawed them. I suppose that is their prerogative. But the federal government is specifically barred in the Constitution from doing this. Is President Obama unaware of the 21st Amendment? States, not Congress — and certainly not the president or his flunkies at the FDA and FTC — control booze. So why are we doing this?"

A Chick Beer Four Loko Review:

Is Four Loko dangerous? The FDA doesn’t say: "Since Americans have been mixing rum with caffeinated cola beverages for over a century, and in recent years, voraciously downing Red Bull vodkas, you’d think the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in breathlessly moving to ban Four Loko and other alcoholic energy drinks this week, would have distinguished the two.    
"Four Loko and Our Irrational Fear of Cognitive Enhancement: "Four Loko is in the news! For a caffeinated malt liquor drink that comes in an assortment of barely palatable flavors, it sure is generating a lot of controversy. The FDA is banning it! People are taking sides and making bathtub home-brew! Politicians are binge drinking it for SCIENCE! Some folks think the ban might be classist or infringe our freedom of speech! Why is everyone so upset over this disgusting fusion of energy drink and booze?"

Anti-Four Loko advocates promise they’re not after your Irish Coffee. Also, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union still exists. "It’s not every day a hip crowd goes bonkers over a malt beverage that tastes like raspberry battery acid and sells for a Jefferson at the gas station next door. Since the federal government announced a vendetta against the idea that you could profit from putting liquor and caffeine in a can, everyone wants a shot at the tin Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. You can’t resist it."

Mad about Four Loco: "The folks leading the anti-Four Loko campaign believe that they have the duty to prevent you from buying prepackaged drinks that put alcohol in your caffeine...

"D.I.Y. Four Loko: "Four Loko is a 23.5 ounce caffeinated alcoholic beverage that’s taking our country by storm. With an estimated 260 milligrams of caffeine and just under 6 shots of alcohol per can, this beverage earned the nickname of “Blackout in a Can” for a good reason. For less than $4 a pop, there’s not a quicker, cheaper or worse tasting way to get your drink on..."Preview

Alcoholic Whipped Cream Causes Buzz On CampusIt might look like a regular can of whipped cream, but if you take a closer look at the label, you'll see why some university students are really buzzing about whipped lightning. "I think it's awesome, you can throw it on some Jell-O shots. It'd be fantastic," UCF student Bo Frisby said.
Finally, The Black Scourge Of Four Loko Is Off The Nation’s Store ShelvesOur long national nightmare is over. An alcopop that’s built up a cult following is being removed from US stores in its current form today on the orders of the Food and Drug Administration.

And on and on... Back in the day, we used to call alcohol and caffeine drinks "Irish Coffee." If you overindulged, you might annoy the crap out of your fellow tavern patrons by running your mouth at a mile a minute, maybe end up in the emergency room after a particularly nasty bar fight, perhaps wake up in the morning on your neighbor's lawn, or, if your luck gave out, wrap your car around a telephone pole. Overindulgence of alcohol is a risky and potentially dangerous undertaking, always was, always will be. The U.S. Federal Government isn't going to change that by outlawing any particular, albeit politically incorrect, concoction. But that reality didn't stop them from trying the first time, and clearly, it's not stopping them this time around.

The Last Bartender isn't looking so silly now, is it? You can read the first few chapters here. Do it before some self-righteous Senator decides that your doing so would present an unacceptable risk to your impressionable young mind...

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